Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gone, Gone, Gone

This week I chose the Phillip Phillips song "Gone, Gone, Gone" because that's what summer is. Fall sports officially began last Saturday when I covered my first football game, a 20-6 DCB victory.

It also means fantasy football is right upon us. I did the second of four drafts last night and my final column came out today.

It also means the final look at how my rankings went last season.

2012 prediction No. 1: Rob Gronkowski. Actual finish for Gronk: Second. 
Pretty much right on considering he was injured for part of the year.

2012 prediction No. 2: Jimmie Graham. Actual finish for Graham: First. 
Another pretty good and easy prediction. Graham and Gronk were both pretty clearly the top guys.

2012 prediction No. 3: Jermichael Finley. Actual finish for Finley: 19. 
Whoa. Terrible prediction here. Finley had some real pass-catching woes again in 2012.

2012 prediction No. 4: Antonio Gates. Actual finish for Gates: 12. 
Gates did not rebound like I expected. I also thought Rivers was going to be good and he was not, so that may have factored in my ranking and the performance of Gates last season.

2012 prediction No. 5: Brandon Pettigrew. Actual finish for Pettigrew: 22. 
I have been really expecting Pettigrew to break out, especially in such a pass-first type offense in Detroit, but he disappointed me yet again despite Stafford throwing more than 700 times last year.

Who I should have picked: No. 3: Tony Gonzalez, No. 4: Heath Miller, No. 5: Jason Witten

Hopefully I did better this year. Thanks as always for reading. Here are some pictures from the first week of fall sports:
Jacks quarterback Shazzon Mumphrey carries the ball to the outside last Saturday against Trinity Bible.

Mumphrey delivers a pass to the outside in the 20-6 win over the Lions.

Sid Hunter about to boot the ball last Saturday.

Mumphrey rifles a pass toward a receiver.

Jamarr Patterson looks to get into the end zone after catching a pass inside the 10.

Terrence Davis turns upfield after making a catch.

Hunter chases down the Lions quarterback.

Coach Dano Fagerlund (right) demonstrates techniques to freshman lineman Dylan Arntzen (left).

Jonathan Parks tries to break a tackle after a reception in the second half.

Dakota College at Bottineau volleyball had a scrimmage last Tuesday against Lake Region State.

Krissi Lesmann slams a big hit over the net.

Sophomore setter Ashleigh Aufforth sets up a teammate during the scrimmage.

Aufforth makes a tough set.

Aufforth encourages her teammates.

This Ladyjack avoids a serve that goes out of bounds.

Savannah Bruce receives the serve.

"Who needs their eyes open when I have shoes as sweet as these?"

Offensive and defensive lineman jockey for position at practice last Saturday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Turn the Night Up

I chose Enrique Igelsias' "Turn the Night Up" not because I like the song necessarily, but because it explains what the sport season is about to become.

In the fall my favorite thing to cover is evening football, and my first night game is on Saturday as the Dakota College at Bottineau home opener.

This past week I previewed that college opener and also put by third installment of T.O's Fantasy Minute out. It was on wide receivers. Which means it's time to check out how I did with wide receiver rankings from last season:

2012 prediction No. 1: Calvin Johnson. Actual finish for Johnson: First. 
Not hard to predict this one.

2012 prediction No. 2: Larry Fitzgerald Actual finish for Fitzgerald: 42.
Wow. I sure got that wrong. Fitzgerald was a bust. However, I think he's in for a resurgence in 2013. 

2012 prediction No. 3: Roddy White. Actual finish for White: 10. 
I can't believe that I was naive enough to believe that White wouldn't decline with a healthy Julio Jones opposite him.

2012 prediction No. 4: A.J Green. Actual finish for Green: Fourth. 
Spot on for me here.

2012 prediction No. 5: Julio Jones. Actual finish for Jones: Nine.
Not too bad, but I thought that the Falcons were going to pass to the wideouts more last year and to Tony Gonzalez less, but I was wrong.

2012 prediction No. 6: Greg Jennings. Actual finish for Jennings: 75.
He got injured, but a decline should have been seen by me.

2012 prediction No. 7: Brandon Marshall. Actual finish for Marshall: Second. 
I did not expect Marshall to explode as much as he did, but he and Cutler reunited even better than I thought they would.

2012 prediction No. 8: Victor Cruz. Actual finish for Cruz: 13. 
Cruz slipped a bit last year, but I wasn't too far off.

2012 prediction No. 9: Wes Welker. Actual finish for Welker: 12.
Welker didn't do as well I as I had expected, but only three spots off isn't terrible.

2012 prediction No. 10: Marques Colston. Actual finish for Colston: 11.    
Another strong prediction by me.

Overall not too bad. While I didn't do very well with the top five predictions, I did do pretty well with 6-10. I had two exactly right and five within five spots.

Anyway I have a few pictures of racing and football practice to share:  
Lance Schill glides around turn one and kicks up a bunch of mud in the process during hot laps last Sunday at Thunder Mountain Speedway north of Bottineau.

Near to far: Jarett Lovcik, Zach Dockter, Grant Hall and Pat Smith ride around turn one.

Shawn Nostdahl (right) chases down Ray Smith (left).

Frank Smith loses his rear bumper after a collision.

Chris Romfo spins out on turn four and slides into the infield.

Cody Smith's car expels some nasty blue smoke as he heads out of turn four.

Coach Dano Fagerlund fires a pass to a Jacks receiver last Thursday at practice.

Dylan Arntzen forces one of his teammates to fumble during a hit drill.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One of These Nights

One of these nights I'm going to be busy.
It's almost fall and sports and school are about to begin, so the Eagles' "One of These Nights" is a great precursor to those nights that I'll be working for the next nine months.

Like last week I started to look back at last year's fantasy football predictions and see how I did. It wasn't too pretty last week. This past week I wrote my column for running backs. How did I do last year? Lets look:

2012 prediction No. 1: Arian Foster. Actual finish for Foster: Third. 
Not bad at all. Foster was a strong pick for anyone who took him as the top back off the board.

2012 prediction No. 2: Ray Rice. Actual finish for Rice: Six.
It wasn't the greatest prediction that Rice would finish this high, but nobody could have predicted Joe Flacco's rise to significance, which I believe led to diminished numbers for Rice.

2012 prediction No. 3: LeSean McCoy. Actual finish for McCoy: 21. 
He got injured. It happens. He did average more than 12 points per game when he was healthy, which would move him up the rankings.

2012 prediction No. 4: Maurice Jones-Drew. Actual finish for Jones-Drew: 51. 
This also looks real bad for me, but another injury to a player who wasn't really all that injury prone, so I'd chalk it up to bad luck.

2012 prediction No. 5: Matt Forte. Actual finish for Forte: 12. 
Expectations were a little too high by me on him returning from an injury.

2012 prediction No. 6: DeMarco Murray. Actual finish for Murray: 27. 
Ok. I'll admit, this was a bit of a reach. He did get hurt his rookie season too, so I should have seen this coming.

2012 prediction No. 7: Marshawn Lynch. Actual finish for Lynch: Four. 
I didn't give Lynch and the Seahawks enough credit.

2012 prediction No. 8: Jamaal Charles. Actual finish for Charles: Eight. 

2012 prediction No. 9: Michael Turner. Actual finish for Turner: 17. 
I thought Turner had one more top-10 year in him. I was wrong.

2012 prediction No. 10: Frank Gore. Actual finish for Gore: 10. 
That said. At least I predicted Gore's finish right on.

Hey, running back is probably the toughest position from year-to-year to predict due to the physical nature of the position and oft-injuries. I feel like I did pretty well. I got two guys right and three other within five spots of their finish.

I do have a few pictures from the races this past Wednesday:

The IMCA and Midwest Modified cars head around the final turn before the finish of the second heat last Wednesday.

The third heat race began with the cars stacked pretty tight at Thunder Mountain Speedway.

Kyle Romans waves to the crowd that he is all right after tipping his car over last Wednesday.

Cars lineup to try and restart as fire fighters clean up the last pieces of Romans' car during the feature race.

Kevin Smith's tire goes flying along with a bunch of mud after a spin out during the feature race for the sport stocks.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's Time

As Imagine Dragons puts it, "It's Time." It is time, time for T.O's Fantasy Minute. Starting this week I began my second year of ranking players for fantasy football.

If you want to read about that, you'll either have to wait a week and go to www.ndna.com/bottineaucourant, or buy a paper, because I won't be posting them on here this year.

What I will do is amuse you readers by showing what I predicted last year compared to how they actually finished. We'll start this week with quarterbacks:

2012 prediction No. 1: Aaron Rodgers. Actual finish for Rodgers: Second. 
Not bad. I was only one off. Maybe this won't be so embarrassing after all. 

2012 prediction No. 2: Drew Brees. Actual finish for Brees: First. 
Another solid pick, but the first few weren't too tough.

2012 prediction No. 3: Tom Brady. Actual finish for Brady: Third. 
Right on. I'm a lot better than I thought.

2012 prediction No. 4: Cam Newton. Actual finish for Newton: Fourth. 
Yes. I should do this for a living.

2012 prediction No. 5: Eli Manning. Actual finish for Eli: 14. 
On second thought....

2012 prediction No. 6: Philip Rivers. Actual finish for Rivers: 21. 
Wow. This is going downhill fast.

2012 prediction No. 7: Matthew Stafford. Actual finish for Stafford: 10.  
Meh. Getting warmer.

2012 prediction No. 8: Matt Schaub Actual finish for Schaub: 18.  
I think I took some unnecessary risky picks here. What was I thinking? 

2012 prediction No. 9: Peyton Manning. Actual finish for Peyton: Six.
To be fair this isn't all that far off, and who thought Peyton would be that good?

2012 prediction No. 10: Tony Romo. Actual finish for Romo: Eight.
Not terrible, but still not making up for the atrocity of those fifth, sixth and eighth picks.

 Anyhow I also have a few pictures from the races last Sunday and the car show last Saturday to share:
Jamie Smith (No. 29) slides through the first turn last Sunday at Thunder Mountain Speedway.

Brian Bellew (right) gets into the bumper of Chris Romfo (left).

Racers enter turn three during the feature race last Sunday.

A group of folks check out a late Model T at the Crazy Days Car Show.

A man inspects this hot rod.

More than 100 cars entered the car show and hundreds came to check them out.

Highway 43 plays on Saturday afternoon.